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Vatican announces upcoming release of motu proprio ‘Antiquum Ministerium’ on the ministry of catechists…

In his 1990 encyclical Redemptoris missio, Pope John Paul II described catechists as “irreplaceable evangelizers.” VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will issue an apostolic letter next week on the ministry of catechist.  The Holy See press office said May 5 that the papal letter, issued motu proprio (“on his own impulse”), would be presented at a press conference on May 11. It described the apostolic letter, Antiquum ministerium, as the means “by which the ministry of catechist is instituted.” Further details will be unveiled at the news conference, which will take place at the Vatican. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, and Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the Pontifical Council’s delegate for catechesis, will speak at ...

Vatican releases confidential files to shed light on 1998 murder of Swiss Guard commander…

ROME (AP) — The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally to shed light on one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the confidential court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. Parolin cited the “understandable desire that animates the relatives to know the details of a particularly painful event,” according to a March 30 letter from the cardinal to the mother’s lawyers. Parolin’s involvement was announced by attorney...

Pope announces canonization of Charles de Foucauld, Lazarus Pillai, and five others…

The planned announcement in today’s ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed. Francis in the encyclical Fratelli tutti indicates him as heir to the legacy and dream of Francis of Assisi. Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Charles de Foucauld, the apostle of the desert, will be proclaimed saint, the “universal brother” indicated by Pope Francis in the encyclical Fratelli tutti as heir to the legacy and dream of Francis of Assisi. Today, in fact, the Pope presided over the ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed: Lazarus, called Devasahayam, lay, martyr; César de Bus, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine; Luigi Maria Palazzolo, priest, founder of the Institute of the Poverelle Sisters – Pala...

Pope’s Sunday Regina Coeli: Jesus, the true vine, “needs our witness;” and faithful urged to offer “a Hail Mary in their daily Rosary” for Myanmar…

During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis urged everyone to do something for the Church in Myanmar: recite a Hail Mary of the rosary daily during the month of May, for peace among “all the leaders of Myanmar”. The pontiff sent his Easter greetings to the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He mentioned the beatification of Dr José Gregorio Hernández in Caracas. Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Jesus is “the real vine” and “needs us”, said Pope Francis, speaking today to the faithful and pilgrims present in St Peter’s Square for the recitation of Regina Caeli. The pontiff expressed this “bold” concept, asking “In what sense does Jesus need us? He needs our witness. As branches, the fruit that we must bear is to bear witness to our Christian life.” Following the Marian prayer of the Easter se...

In new law with “seismic” potential, Pope Francis to allow cardinals and bishops to stand trial before the Vatican’s civilian-led courts…

Pope Francis on Friday issued his second change to Vatican City law in two days. In a newly issued motu proprio, the pope amended Vatican City state law, to allow cardinals and bishops to stand trial before the city state’s civilian-led courts, with his prior consent.  The change might set the stage for a dramatic conclusion to the roiling financial scandals at the Secretariat of State. Members of the Vatican City State’s national police force. Credit: Gaspard Miltiade/wikimedia. CC BY SA 4.0 The change to the law was approved by Francis on April 30, the same day it was published, and the day after the pope issued a raft of other financial laws for the curia and Vatican City, apparently in direct response to the still-unfolding series of financial scandals surrounding the Vatican’s Se...

Pope Francis issues new law in wake of Vatican financial scandals, bans investments “contrary to the social doctrine of the Church”…

Pope Francis has issued a new Vatican law that aims to combat corruption by senior officials in the curia and in the city state, and that bars investments in companies or businesses “contrary to the social doctrine of the Church.”  The new law also aims to end customary cash gifts exchanged among Church officials and those with whom they work, by prohibiting officials from receiving nearly any gift of cash. Such gifts came under heavy criticism in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal. Pope Francis. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk Share The law comes days after the Vatican faced criticism for past investments in pharmaceutical companies which produce abortifacient drugs, and ahead of a new report on the Vatican from international anti-money laundering watchdogs. The pope publis...

In rare move, Pope ousts two Ecuadorian bishops amid talk of “shadows” of homosexuality, concubinage, simony in liberal Riobamba diocese…

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis responded Wednesday to reports of poor governance, financial mismanagement and moral failings in the Ecuadorian diocese of Riobamba by not only accepting the resignation of the retiring bishop but that of his heir apparent as well. Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignations of Bishop Julio Parrilla Diaz, who turned 75 last month, and his deputy, Monsignor Gerardo Miguel Nieves Loja, 53. Nieves had been named “coadjutor bishop” for Riobamba last year and was due to be consecrated bishop in February, to take over when Parrilla retired at 75, the normal retirement age for bishops. But Nieves offered his resignation to Francis a week before the ceremony. Parrilla confirmed Nieves’ resignation in a Feb. 19 letter to his flock, reproduced by the Spanish-language Cath...

Catholic clerics and “prominent lay personalities” among 12 arrested after bishop-elect shot in South Sudan…

“When the two men shot the bishop-elect, one of them dropped down his phone and the bishop fell on it. It is this phone that the security used to find the people connected,” the source said. Among those arrested after the shooting are members of the clergy and “other prominent lay personalities in the Diocese of Rumbek,” the source disclosed, adding that 12 people were linked to the “physical evidence of the cell phone found where the bishop-elect was shot.” South Sudan, an east-central African country of 11 million people, gained independence from Sudan in 2011. The Catholic Church is the largest Christian body in the country, which borders Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. The arrests follow a directive from South Suda...

Priest with cancer dies 23 days after his hospital room ordination…

After his condition took a turn for the worse, he wrote to Pope Francis asking to move forward his ordination date. Fr. Livinius had first entered religious life with the Order of the Mother of God in Nigeria ten years ago and had made his final vows in September. The pope’s reply came on March 31 that the seminarian could be ordained the following day, Holy Thursday, according to Vatican News. Bishop Daniele Libanori, an auxiliary bishop of Rome, ordained Fr. Livinius on April 1 at the Medica Group Casilino Hospital. “As a priest, you will be joined with Jesus to make your body an offering pleasing to God. Our priesthood, indeed, reaches its peak when together with the bread and wine, we know how to offer all of ourselves, the things the Lord has given us, and our very lives,” Bishop Liba...

‘You will be shepherds like him’: Pope Francis ordains nine new priests in St. Peter’s Basilica…

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar of Rome, concelebrated the Mass at the Altar of the Confession with the pope, as did the superiors of the seminaries where the candidates trained. / Vatican Media After the homily, the ordinands approached the pope one by one. They knelt before him, placing their hands between his as he asked them: “Do you promise to me and my successors filial respect and obedience?” After they answered in the affirmative, he said: “May God who began his work in you bring it to completion.” Then, as a group, the candidates prostrated themselves before the altar, as the choir sang the litany of saints. The nine men again approached the pope individually and he laid his hands on top of their heads, ordaining them priests. The new priests were given stoles and chasubles....

Pope Francis declares Margaret of Castello, a blind 14th-century lay Dominican, through rarely-used “equipollent canonization” process…

To thank her neighbors for raising her, she opened a small school, where she taught children the Psalms, which she had learned by heart, and instructed them in the Catholic faith. She died in 1320, at the age of 33, and was buried inside the church, where her tomb quickly became associated with miracles. Pope Paul V declared her Blessed by equivalent beatification in 1609. Candidates for equipollent canonization must meet three criteria. They must be the subject of a long-standing cult. They should have a solid and enduring reputation for virtue. They must also have a long association with miracles. While there were few equipollent canonizations in the 20th century, Benedict XVI declared Hildegard of Bingen a saint via the procedure in 2012. Pope Francis has used the process relatively fre...

Bishop Bätzing opens path to Protestants receiving Catholic Communion in Germany…

In his latest challenge to Rome’s authority, the president of the German bishops conference is publicly rejecting recent Vatican instructions regarding this issue. In his latest salvo to challenge Rome, the president of Germany’s bishops’ conference has said that any German Protestant who wishes to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church on Kirchentag — a day of unity in May for German Protestants — may do so.  “Anyone who is Protestant and attends Communion can receive Communion,” Bishop Georg Bätzing told an online discussion in Frankfurt on Thursday about the May 15 event that usually brings thousands of Christians to the city for ecclesial events.  “We want to take steps towards unity,” he said, adding that “whoever believes in conscience what is celebrated in the other d...